Six Vigo County residents reported missing during a fishing trip at Chinook Coal Mine late Friday evening was found unharmed early Saturday morning.
"The group was fishing in an area known as Stitch Lake," Clay County Sheriff's Deputy/K-9 Handler Josh Clarke said about the unidentified individuals ranging in ages from 18-35. "They were heading back to their vehicle when their lantern went out. Without any lighting, they got turned around in the darkness and got lost."
A search effort was mounted after a family member and mine security personnel contacted the Clay County Justice Center shortly after 11:30 p.m., Friday.
Members of the Clay County Sheriff's Department, Clay County Emergency Management, Cory and Posey Volunteer Fire Departments, Clay County Search and Rescue and the Clay County Sheriff's Posse were dispatched to an area north of Lower Bloomington Road and just west of County Road 500 West.
With the vast size of the mine area extending into Vigo County, the Vigo County Sheriff's Department was also notified about the search in case the missing individuals wandered into their county.
Although three members of the fishing party had cell phones, which helped officials to locate them, some confusion arose when cellular towers bounced the group's phone signals between various county 911-dispatch centers.
Thermal imaging cameras and ThinkMap technology was used on the scene by more than 40 emergency response personnel on the ground as Air Evac assisted with an aerial search.
Shortly before 2 a.m., officials reunited the six individuals with family members waiting at the search command center based on Lower Bloomington Road.
Clarke said further details are unavailable at this time due to an ongoing investigation into the event.
See Tuesday's edition of The Brazil Times for a full story.